Perfect face for radio, too.
November 21, 2002 7:59 AM   Subscribe

A pinhead editorial writer's adventure in the No Spin Zone. Not intending to post another partisan attack on Bill O'Reilly, but rather an interesting example from start to finish of how the host of a "fair" debate show calls every shot from minute one, and why, frankly, it's just not worth it to watch American news channels anymore. [More within...]
posted by XQUZYPHYR (40 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- Brandon Blatcher

not worth it to watch American news channels anymore
not since cronkite retired.
posted by quonsar at 8:18 AM on November 21, 2002

Was this posted for political purposes, news purposes, to troll or just as a rant really? Just curious.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:23 AM on November 21, 2002

I am surprised hardcore O'Reillyngs would have a subscription to post-gazette in the first place.
posted by Recockulous at 8:25 AM on November 21, 2002

Personally I can't tolerate O'Reilly. That said - it's a free market, let the shows/newspapers live and die by their ratings/circulation.

I wouldn't expect fairness from a TV show any more than I would expect the local paper to reprint a letter without exercising editorial discretion.
posted by revbrian at 8:25 AM on November 21, 2002

As I'm not from the US, can somebody explain O'Reilly to me?
I gather he is some kind of right-wing talkshow host?
posted by sebas at 8:27 AM on November 21, 2002

You gather correctly sebas. A hypocritical lying one at that. Not worth a channel change. A real favorite of the knuckle draggers though.
posted by nofundy at 8:33 AM on November 21, 2002

Here's a thought.
posted by UKnowForKids at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2002

How can any news channel be truly unbiased? Computers don't choose news stories, people do. Not that it makes it right, or makes it what should be occurring, but I'm just trying to put some different perspective here. I'm all for unbiased reporting, but I just don't think it can happen.

So, in a way, I think that makes admitting a bias somewhat unnecessary. If you dislike a media outlet, choose a different one, I say.
posted by angry modem at 9:00 AM on November 21, 2002

why is this still going on?

because his show is the highest rated nightly show on cable. It is that simple. Last time I checked, he had the ratings of the next two competitors combined. If you are selling a 'book/newspaper/point of view' the easiest way to get it out to a large number of people is to appear on the 'Factor'. The reason his viewer ship is so large is because just as many people who love him watch, as those who hate him. But that doesn't matter, they are watching.

As for why he is the biggest fish in the sea? Well have you watched Larry King lately? People tune in to see guests be 'challenged' in their ideas, not just have a hour long chat. It is this confrontation that draws views.

This sums it up best:
I don't think people have grasped why CNN is being overtaken in popularity stakes by Fox News. I don't think it's because the former is more liberal than the latter. True, CNN has somewhat of a liberal bias, but in more subtle ways than Fox's rampant conservatism. The reason:
Fox News actually talks about the issues in a smart engaged way. However much you may loathe the self-righteousness of O'Reilly, he at least talks about the pertinent topics of the day. Personally, I can't stand the man, but find myself strangely drawn to his program. What do I get on CNN? Mindless balderdash, pathetic "human interest" stories with Larry King and Connie Chung. How can anyone under 60 find such drivel interesting? Well, maybe they don't, and now they have an alternative. So rather than play it down, maybe CNN should play up the liberal card, and debate the issues in a spirited manner. They don't get it: they can only win back viewers with substance, not Paula Zahn's breasts. Strange it took Fox News to teach it this lesson.

posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:04 AM on November 21, 2002

OK, if you promise its not just a rant... (boy have I been snarky lately, sorry folks, I'll cut down on the caffeine, or maybe increase it)

However much you may loathe the self-righteousness of O'Reilly, he at least talks about the pertinent topics of the day.

Yeah Ludacris and VH1 specials are really pertinent news of the day. Please let's call a spade a spade here, just because a media "personality" (such a BS word) rants in a way you more politically subscribe towards does not make their coverage "talks about the issues in a smart engaged way" He's just as full of crap as the next guy, the point is if they admitted to how much crap they were full of the mystique of the "intelligent" news anchor would be lost and they would have no viewers anymore!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:17 AM on November 21, 2002

What is immoral about Bill O in this instance is that he is mere entertainment. He is paid very well to take a conservative stance on issues. Yet, this entertainment has forced the prisoners, described within the article of simply sharing music as some sort of solace at best, or at minimum a social activity, to be stripped of this function entirely.

So, Bill Os money maker has made the lives of of others several degrees more miserable.

The Marx brothers provided intelligent, ridiculous entertainment. It's a burden and a shame that Bill O in a sleazy and filthy way, employs dogma and self interest to not only entertain, but to injure and aggrieve for the sake of profit.

Lastly, the distress he causes others is not a by-product of something larger, such as Shell in Nigeria. For Bill O, misery is the product alone.
posted by four panels at 9:20 AM on November 21, 2002

Computers don't choose news stories, people do.

Not always.
posted by piskycritter at 9:28 AM on November 21, 2002

bah, that's the exception to the rule, and you know it. Besides, they still link to human-written news stories. ;-)
posted by angry modem at 9:42 AM on November 21, 2002

Sullivan's opinion
Actually it is the opinion of an unnamed reader of Sullivan's blog, posted under the 'letter' section. Just giving credit where credit is due....

As for the article that you posted, Yes I watched that episode of the the show, and Bill was an ass. And he received a gigantic amount of hate mail over it, and apologized the next night.

In other words, Fox News is currently the most popular out of three networks that fit in that category. Umm... wow?

Well I tell you what, If I was selling my a book, I would not mind having that kind of exposure that you dismiss out of hand...

Considering that there is a large portion of the population that does not watch network news, that makes the rating significant by itself.

I'm amazed at how often and how frequently Fox News now takes swings at Paula Zahn

The author of that letter may have, but I am yet to hear anyone from FOX take a swing a Zahn. Bill actually interviewed her and plugged her CNN show...

But I digress, I am not a cheerleader for FOX News.

four panels: I will not argue with you at this point in time, if prisoners should have right to "share music" but do not give me a pity story for some sum-bag who shot and killed to random female college student for no reason, because now he can't hold a rock show for other prisoners.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:54 AM on November 21, 2002

correction: two random female college student
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:56 AM on November 21, 2002

Media celebrities like O'Reilly love nothing more than being the news themselves and therefore they live for discussions like this one. For those of you who watch him, keep an eye out for how many times he puts himself into the story.

He promises things we all want to hear and things we all would love modern media to be: a fair place where all sides of an issue get a fair and unbalanced hearing. (Which is why people watch him, to see if he really is the next Howard Beale).

In the end he turns out to be the worst of modern media: a one-sided celebrity shouting match.

And eventually the story will be "whatever happened to..." -- maybe VH1 will do a cheap, exploitative version of it. Film at 11.
posted by victors at 10:15 AM on November 21, 2002

"What I'm going to need here Bill is a little more cowbell!"
posted by Pollomacho at 10:59 AM on November 21, 2002

To think that this show glamorized prison life is to have not watched this show. It was brutally depressing in my opinion. Imagine all the lameness of a lame metal band playing in a bar to 10 people in the midwest. Now envision that scenario played out in prison, and that one lame show was the one thing these guys had too look forward to all year. Then back to the cell.

It was hardly glamorous or appealing.
posted by glenwood at 11:05 AM on November 21, 2002 may be the exception for now, but it's also the solution. Sure, the individual stories are written by people, but the easy overall view that can provide is something that will only gain popularity. At least with people who have intellectual curiosity.
posted by jragon at 11:19 AM on November 21, 2002

four panels: nothing you say makes any sense. I don't see anything immoral about what Bill O'Reilly is doing, unless sharing your opinion is immoral (you don't seem to have any qualms with this one, nor do I).

I personally like him because of his up-front personality, though I disagree with him politically quite often (he scared the hell out of me when he said once there should be Federalized neighborhood watch programs). Immoral? I guess if making money is immoral, then stone him, I say.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2002

insomnyuk - I think 4 panels was not saying that HIS opinion is immoral, but that what he says on the air is the opinion of the right-wing pundit played by Bill O'Reilly. He's playing a character, much like Rush or any pundit. Its infotainment, not real news and yet it still has the power to cause misery, THAT is immoral. The 3 Stooges only hurt each other with their schtick, Bill and his ilk hurt others with theirs.

Not to speak for you 4 panels...
posted by Pollomacho at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2002

Xquzyphr: None of your three links worked...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:13 PM on November 21, 2002

I've wondered why O'Reilly has appeal, and I think the answer is aggression. It's the up-front personality that insomnyuk admires. Can you imagine a left wing liberal running a show like O'Reilly's? No way, because no liberal would have the aggressiveness to tell a guest to "shut up" and then continue their rant. Liberals appear soft in the arena of cable news.
posted by letitrain at 12:18 PM on November 21, 2002

Xquzyphr: None of your three links worked...

The links work, the server is very, very slow...
posted by victors at 12:22 PM on November 21, 2002

Odd, 15 mins ago a I got 404s, now they work...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:37 PM on November 21, 2002


You might be interested in Cass Sunstein's slightly different take on internet news (my apologies if you've seen this already).
posted by singmesomething at 12:43 PM on November 21, 2002

I don't have cable, and I would never dream of listening to right-wing talk radio, so my only exposure to O'Reilly has been through a couple episodes of Politically Incorrect on which he appeared (I had a real love-hate relationship with that show, but I'm finding that I miss it now that it's gone...). I wasn't impressed by him at all: this "attack dog" of the right was reserved and apparently hesitant to speak up. He said a couple authoritative-sounding but uncontroversial things, but he was mostly ignored. I'm guessing that a good bit of his aggression on his own show comes from knowing he's in charge. He doesn't seem nearly as willing to stick his neck out in someone else's forum.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:54 PM on November 21, 2002

Politically Incorrect... I'm finding that I miss it now that it's gone...

Mr Roboto, you will have to get cable now, Maher is getting a one hour uncensored show on HBO starting this Feb...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:59 PM on November 21, 2002

Sunstein's describes the dangers of MeFi to a tee but his ultimate point is that news outlets (like Fox tries to be) are required.
posted by victors at 1:02 PM on November 21, 2002

I wonder how pissed Dennis Miller is. From what I understand, he didn't want to leave.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:25 PM on November 21, 2002

Well, according to Dan Savage, even tightly controlled shows like O'Reilly's No Spin Zone provide some delightfully unexpected entertainment every so often.
posted by tyro urge at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2002

Liberals appear soft in the arena of cable news.


there, can I have the job?
posted by drezdn at 8:30 PM on November 21, 2002

but I am yet to hear anyone from FOX take a swing a Zahn
Fox Slings Mud at CNN's Paula Zahn
" Ailes set a tone for the post-Zahn era with a comment that quickly became legendary, in part with the help of Fox's on-air personalities. In an article about Zahn's firing, he minimized how she had improved ratings in her time slot while at Fox News Channel.
"I could have put a dead raccoon on the air this year and got a better rating than last year," Ailes told The New York Times. "That's all just the growth of our network. All our shows are up."
Subsequently, the "Fox & Friends" anchors talked about Zahn on the air with a stuffed raccoon toy on the table in front of them.
Fox anchor Steve Doocy, cameras in tow, presented Zahn with a gift basket including the stuffed raccoon after the new studio opened. "
Not that I give a crap about Miss Zahn. I think she's a perfect nonentity in the 24-hour news biz.

Conservatives are better on cable because they know how to work the medium. Liberals are more along the side of the Donahues of the world who mistake 60seconds of time as the venue to make a reasoned stance on the world. The only liberals who seem to have half a brain about how to work cable news/talk radio are James Carville and Paul Begala. Until the left comes up with its own Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs, they will be doomed to purgatory.

That said, I have an opening on my schedule.
posted by owillis at 9:34 PM on November 21, 2002

Hhhmmm ... writer goes on show. Moderator of show - being, as he is, in total control of the show, uses show to make the point he wants to make. Writer, being in total control of his column, uses column to make the point he wants to make.

Difference? Writer was on moderator's show. Moderator not even interviewed for column. Moderator, however, is being taken to task for hanging up - cutting short the interview. Writer can't be accused of the same thing ... since no interview was even offered.

A well-played hand ... almost well-played enough to mask the distinct smell of sour grapes.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:35 PM on November 21, 2002

How soon the conservatives forget Rush and Dr. Laura's non-cable failures.
posted by drezdn at 10:16 PM on November 21, 2002


the writer didn't treat anyone discourteously, or squelch anyone's opinion.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:46 AM on November 22, 2002

Would Mike Moore be a good liberal 'answer' (what's the question, anyway?) to Bill O'Reilly? I could imagine him verbally kicking the crap out of right-wing guests/victims. I might even enjoy that, if only as a nice change :). The question is really how fast he can think on his feet, how stingingly caustic he can be, and how well he can project moral authority. Those are all the skills required for the position. Actual knowledge and willingness to think seem to be a distinct disadvantage to a talk show host, to our general cost.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:59 AM on November 22, 2002

The question is really how fast he can think on his feet

He can't... His trick is to edit film to his advantage to make others look stupid (See Roger & Me)
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:28 AM on November 22, 2002

How do you know how fast he can think on his feet?

In the live interviews and public appearances of Moore's I've seen, he does a pretty good job of thinking on his feet and reacting quckly. Not that I always agree with him (bleeding-heart liberal though I am.)
posted by Vidiot at 1:01 PM on November 22, 2002

Michael Moore resembles a punching bag when faced with folks on the right that know tv bluster - see any of his appearances on Politically Incorrect for evidence. He does have a Limbaugh-esque truth deficiency though.
posted by owillis at 12:38 AM on November 23, 2002

« Older Art Alert.   |   Demons in disguise Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments